Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

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The kids are out of control, your job is a hassle, you have no time for yourself, and to top it all off, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. If anyone told you that you could reach a state of physical and emotional bliss, you’d say they were nuts. But believe it or not, all you need is yoga!

Disclaimer: If you suffer from clinical depression or anxiety, this article is not for you. Please seek help from a medical professional!

Now, if you suffer from overwhelm, general angst, or a bad day- read on!

Yoga is a great mood enhancer that requires no drugs or medications. Like all forms of exercise, yoga releases hormones that help ease feelings of stress that often lead to the blahs, blues, or outright depression. Being active keeps your mind away from negative thoughts, and allows you to gain a greater and clearer perspective on the problems you are facing.

People feeling “down”, often lack the motivation to exercise. That’s why yoga can be such a great option. It takes far less time and effort to complete a yoga flow than it does to drive to the gym.

A word of warning; if you suffer from more than just the occasional bout of the blues, and feel down for more than two weeks at a time, you should seek professional advice. A doctor or therapist may feel that you need a combination of medication or therapy with exercise.

When you’re feeling down, it can be difficult to think positively. Individuals who are depressed often lack the concentration to detach themselves from their thoughts. But yoga is a “moving meditation”, so it is easier to take your mind away from negative thoughts. Our essential inner nature can be blocked by negative thoughts.

Apathy, despair, doubt, hopelessness, and sleeping too much or too little are all signs of depression that must be addressed. Yoga is designed to bring you closer to your inner truth, naturally helping with some of the symptoms of depression. With a focus on balance, yoga can help to restore mental stability.

There is a definite connection between mind, body, and spirit that indicates people can “beat the blues” with yoga. No other form of exercise alone can achieve these same benefits. Utilizing specific Asana yoga postures can influence your mood and help to relieve symptoms of depression. Asana postures can help increase low energy levels and relieve lethargy. They are also helpful in opening lung capacity to allow more oxygen to reach all parts of your body which in turn will affect your mood. Ask your yoga instructor to help you learn postures that can balance your moods.

It’s also possible to beat the blues with yoga because of the calming effects yoga has on the nervous system. Proper breathing techniques are important elements to practicing yoga, as these can help curb your anxiety and quiet your thoughts, allowing you to concentrate on positive rather than negative energies. As you learn more about yoga, you’ll come to understand the connection between your mind and your emotions, and you’ll find that they can help each other.

If you think you may be suffering from severe depression, seek professional advice. Yoga is a drug-free alternative that can be safely practiced in conjunction with any medication or therapy your doctor orders. Some yoga routines are specifically designed to alleviate depression and taught by instructors who have been extensively trained to understand the most therapeutic positions.

Remember, all you need for yoga is yourself an area stretch in. Guided yoga can be found on YouTube for free, for more extensive options I use Yoga Download, it offers everything: yoga, meditation, pilates, even cardio and music! (Plus if you join right now, you can get 50% off monthly membership!)

If you are concerned yoga is too advanced for you, I promise you it works for every body-type beginner to advanced. In fact, my 3-year-old joins in daily!

Even performing the most basic yoga routines can help lift your spirits. While not physically demanding like other forms of exercise, yoga will make you feel much better at the end of a session. Try it and you’ll find that you can beat the blues with yoga! For more yoga tips, check out my article, Starting a Yoga Practice!

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